Florida Democrats are calling on Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) to step down from a key roll at the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) because his former auto dealership is accused of violating election laws.
The Federal Election Commission filed a motion on Friday which alleged that Hyundai of North Jacksonville improperly reimbursed employees and members of their family for campaign donations from 2005 until 2007. Buchanan co-owned the car dealership from 2004 to 2008.
Buchanan’s co-owner Sam Kazran allegedly told employees to donate $67,900 to Buchanan’s campaign. Kazran told the Bradenton Herald that he had done nothing wrong, and said Buchanan played a role:
“It was ‘This is what I need to do and this is what you need to do to take care of it,’” Kazran told the Herald.
A campaign spokesman for Buchanan called Kazran’s allegation “absolutely false.”
“Sam is lashing out because he was slapped by a summary judgment today by the Hillsborough County Circuit Court for $624,000 related to a loan he failed to repay to Vern.”
This failed to satisfy Buchanan’s Democratic opponents. “After being embroiled in an ‘extensive and ongoing scheme’ to break campaign finance rules, Congressman Vern Buchanan is the last person that should be running the finances for the National Republican Congressional Committee,” Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in a statement.
“It’s past time for Vern Buchanan to come clean about his role and for Republicans to live up to their promised a zero tolerance policy for Republican members caught in ethics scandals,” Jotkoff said.